Climate Protection Fund to Support E-Bikes for Essential Workers
Published on April 26, 2021
DENVER — Denver announced today that electric bike libraries to support essential workers will be the first initiative funded by the voter-approved Climate Protection Fund (CPF). Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency (CASR) selected Northeast Transportation Connections (NETC) and West Corridor TMA to deploy and manage the libraries which are expected to open this summer. The e-bike libraries will be located in the Denver neighborhoods of Sun Valley, Globeville, Elyria and Swansea. The 70 e-bikes will be available free of charge for use by income qualified essential workers to support their commutes and other trips.
“E-bikes are an easy access, low emission mobility option that makes it convenient to get to jobs or run errands in your neighborhood,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “I’m also proud that this program will be focusing on our under-resourced neighborhoods and Denver’s critical essential workers, especially as the city emerges from the COVID-19 crisis.”
In November, Denver voters approved Ballot Initiative 2A to equitably advance the city’s aggressive climate goals. “We are excited that the 2A-funded CPF is making its first investment into under-resourced communities to provide sustainable mobility options to Denver residents,” said Grace Rink, CASR’s Executive Director.
“I've always used my bike to commute to work and for errands, and now with the e-bike I will be able to go longer and further and just about anywhere without showing up exhausted or sweaty," said Darnell Robinson, a current bike library member from Northeast Park Hill.
In Sun Valley, the libraries will be set up in multiple affordable housing communities, including Denver Housing Authority (DHA) developments, and will serve over 1,000 homes.
“DHA’s Sun Valley Homes redevelopment incorporates new mixed-income housing, supports neighborhood revitalization, and promotes healthy living through multi-modal transportation options along the West Corridor,” states David Nisivoccia, DHA’s Executive Director. “This exciting pilot program not only gives affordable and equitable access of e-bikes to the residents of Sun Valley, but also improves air quality and provides neighborhood families, students, and essential workers with economical transportation options.”
In Globeville-Elyria-Swansea, the e-bike libraries will be provided in partnership with established community-based organizations like Prodigy Coffeehouse and Focus Points Family Resource Center.
"We are very excited about the e-bike library at Prodigy as well as the other locations,” said Brady Grant, Director of Learning at Prodigy Coffeehouse. “The NETC bike library in our neighborhood has operated as the true access point to helping those around our shop utilize bicycles as a viable mode of transportation, and adding e-bikes to this offering is such an exciting prospect for continued growth and benefit to our neighborhood."
All of the e-bikes deployed for this program will be manufactured in Denver by FattE-Bikes, a locally owned and operated e-bike shop in the Sun Valley neighborhood.
Denver partnered with the Colorado Energy Office to solicit proposals from across the state as part of the Can Do Colorado program. “The funding from Denver's Climate Protection Fund allowed us to expand this grant program to serve more people, which has been a tremendous benefit,” said Christian Willis, Senior Director of Transportation Fuels and Technology at the Colorado Energy Office.
About Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency
Mayor Michael Hancock and the Denver City Council created the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency to manage the City's ambitious emission reduction goals and sustainability programs in collaboration with fellow departments, other units of government, and community partners. The office ensures that the City's targets are aligned with current climate science, promotes the role that climate action and sustainability play in strengthening Denver's economic vitality and a prosperous future for all residents and businesses, and embraces equity as a value and practice in all of its work.
Additional quotes from involved organizations:
E. a 44 year old Sun Valley resident, describes e-bikes as a ‘diamond’, a precious treasure that can put money in his pocket, keep his body active and allowed him valuable time with his daughter riding to Elitch Gardens.
“We are truly grateful that Denver's Climate Protection Fund gives us the opportunity to provide DHA's Sun Valley residents with great ebikes from FattE-Bikes, made right in Sun Valley, giving residents of affordable housing a new, affordable, climate-friendly way to travel,” says Michael Hughes, Executive Director of West Corridor TMA.
"This program is a high priority for us. It aligns with our commitment to the community and we are honored to be a part of the team and to contribute to helping residents have new, locally made, state-of-the-art ebikes," says Kenny Fischer, Owner of FattE-Bikes.
"The Bike Library has truly been a great resource for our community members, and the addition of eBikes through this opportunity would only improve this resource and increase demand for bikes in our community. The Bike Library is more accessible than other bike options for our community as NETC does not require a smartphone or credit card to become a member, which is crucial to the success of this program,” says Jules Kelty, Executive Director of Focus Points Family Resource Center. “Again, we support this program and partnership with NETC and anticipate nothing but success from the Community eBike Library!"
"We're so grateful to be able to upgrade our Community Bike Libraries to eBikes through this funding opportunity and we are so excited for the additional community members we will be able to serve through having eBikes in this program. It's a huge step in the right direction, if we can get folks on an eBike and have them use it for a week for their commuting needs they really start to see it as a realistic option for their mobility needs, they start to see it as a cheaper option than a car and oftentimes a faster option than taking the bus,” says Eric Herbst, Assistant Director of Northeast Transportation Connections. “We can't wait to hear the excitement and stories from our participants after their first experiences on these eBikes!"
“With our Bike Libraries we're trying to provide the community access to biking with no strings attached. We wanted to have a program for the working poor. To be part of [other bike share programs] you have to join, you have to have a credit card, and the folks we're working with are the working poor and they simply didn’t have access to that,” says Angie Rivera-Malpiede, Executive Director of Northeast Transportation Connections.